So, this was going to be our dinner on Tuesday, but that plan was put in place before (what will in future be known as) the St. Valentine's Day Migraine Massacre, swooped in and took me hostage for a couple of days. It is most definitely my favorite chicken dish and Hubbs seems to agree. I don't make it too frequently, because there's something about the combination of ingredients that makes me want to have it not only for dinner, but then again for breakfast and lunch the next day. (I don't really do that. Well... not for breakfast anyway. Yet.)
It's super easy to prepare and even more simple if you do your prep ahead of time. I generally chop my onions, fry off my bacon and sort out the rest of the goodies in the right measurements and when dinner time rolls around, I just have to throw it together. In one pan.
- 4 to 6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, trimmed
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped
- 1/2 Lb Bacon, roughly chopped
- 1/2 Cup Dry Vermouth or Dry White Wine (no "cooking" wine, please)
- 1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 Cups Sharp Cheddar, shredded
- Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Trim up the chicken, (if needed) chop the onion, fry up the bacon in a large heavy skillet (reserve the bacon drippings) and shred the cheddar cheese.
Season the chicken liberally with salt & pepper and using about 1 Tbls of the bacon drippings, saute and brown the chicken over medium heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked through. (about 7 minutes total per side) Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside, covered loosely with a little foil.
I always put a bit of Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper in a small ramekin when working with raw meat or chicken. This way, I'm not cross-contaminating the salt in my cellar or the pepper grinder as I season things.
Add another teaspoon or two of the bacon drippings to the pan and add the onions, scraping up any browned bits from the chicken. Season with a little more salt. Cook them until they just begin to soften and turn a light golden brown.
Add the vermouth/wine to the pan and turn up the heat to medium high and let it reduce by about 3/4 or until it get's slightly thickened and syrupy. Please don't leave the vermouth/wine out of this dish. It really is part of the total flavor profile and if you're concerned about the kiddies, not to worry. The alcohol will cook off completely and just leave the yumminess behind. Wine and tomatoes just seem to compliment each other.
Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Season again with a bit more salt & pepper and simmer over medium low heat for about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken back to the pan and spoon some of the sauce over each piece. Divide the cooked and crumbled bacon, leaving about 1/4 of it aside. Sprinkle the larger amount evenly over each piece of chicken, add a generous handful of cheddar on top of each piece and then add the rest of the bacon on top of it all.
Cover the pan and simmer for about 5 more minutes to allow the cheese to melt and the chicken to heat through completely.
Serve this with something that you can ladle the sauce over, because it's just too darned good to leave behind in the pan. I almost always serve mine with hot buttered Jasmati rice and a veggie or green salad. Once in a while, I'll serve egg noodles or another type of pasta with it, but the rice is our favorite.
|Yup. I totally finished this after I took the picture. :~)|
These are some of the parties I might be linking up with this week: